Talon by Julie Kagawa

 

THE DRAGONS OF TALON: Once hunted nearly to extinction, they are now poised to take over the world. THE ORDER OF ST. GEORGE: The legendary dragonslayers will stop at nothing to wipe dragons from the face of the earth. 

These mortal enemies are locked in secret and deadly combat, with humanity none the wiser. 

To take her rightful place in the Talon organization, young dragon Ember Hill must prove she can hide her true nature and blend in with humans. Her delight at the prospect of a summer of “normal” teen experiences is short-lived, however, once she discovers that she’s also expected to train for her destined career in Talon. But a chance meeting with a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught.

As Ember struggles to accept her future, St. George soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian is tasked with hunting her down. But when faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to uncover the truth about dragons.1

The cover of this book always reminds me of Mortal Combat.  The scales and dragon head, as well as the title, give you an idea of what we are about to get into.  Dragons.  Dragons are mythical creatures from legends of old.  These creatures have been talked about for centuries and probably will be for many more to come.  Something to get out of the way is that dragons do exist.  Ember Hill and her brother are fledgling dragons and are unique.  While technically they are not twins, it is uncommon for dragon hatchlings to be born so close together.  Because of this, Ember and her brother are paired together to blend into the human world as twins.  This gives the added benefit of tricking their enemy because they also know how rare it is for two dragons to be related and would not be expecting it.  Fledgling dragons are trained hard by their instructors and must learn to blend into the human world as they are not always in their dragon forms.  During their training they are given instructors to teach them and train them for what their careers in the dragon society will one day be.

Ember could not be more thrilled about her time training as a human.  Ember and her brother have been placed near the ocean and Ember has taken to surfing like a natural.  The feeling of flying across the water is the closest thing she can get because she is not able to transform into her true form with so many humans nearby.  Dragons must take every care possible to ensure that they do not expose their kind to humans.  Risking detection by being seen in their true forms could result in exposure, but also detection of the elite group known as St. George.  Trained from a young age, these elite soldiers are aware of the existence of dragons and train daily to hunt down and kill any and all dragons.  The dragons are taught to beware of St. George, they are the enemy and must be killed and visa versa for St. George.  When Ember meets two very different and very dangerous boys, she begins to question everything she has ever been taught by her trainers and listen to what her instincts and her heart are telling her.

The Mortal Combat series, I mean Talon series has popped up on my radar a few times over the years.  Julie Kagawa’s name is also well known to be, despite never having read any of her books before this.  I was eager to start Talon without knowing much about the actual story.  I tend to avoid reading book summaries where possible as I find most of them tend to give away more than they should and spoil a few things that could have been left as a surprise.  It took me longer than expected to wrap my head around the dragon world, the transformations, St. George and just the whole world that Kagawa was creating for us.  The concepts and ideas are understandable enough, but it was difficult to find any sort of connection to the story to spark anything within me.  Sure the teenage girl in me had stirred a few times with the introduction of the two very attractive, very dangerous and strong boys to the story, but I was too distracted by the superficial.  The fact that our main character is a fire breathing dragon and her name is Ember boarders on cute/clever and tacky/obvious.  You are trying to blend in and not draw attention to yourself yet you have one of the most dragonesque names you can find.  Although I am very aware that Ember is female and I am not, her character and choices were so alien that I could not relate at all and found myself not quite rooting for her which is the opposite that readers should feel for their main characters.  Our “villains” of the story come from an ancient organization known as St. George.  The choice of a Saint name seems to only barely represent the age of the group, but does not bolster any images of strength or fear that we should probably be feeling for these soldiers.  I think something along the lines of The Knights Templar inspires more of these feelings.  The boys of St. George creates more of a boarding school for hunky teens/men who have rippling muscles, combat skills and weapons training that inspire a desire to pull up a lounge chair with book in hand, peeving over the top of the page pretending you have been reading that same page for the last hour; natural spies among us.

From my ramblings you may have started to formulate where I am going with this, but I didn’t really care for Talon and I have zero hesitation to say that I have no intention of continuing with the series.  There are rumblings of possible movie adaptations which could potentially catch my attention, but likely not enough to read the rest of the series.

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Julie Kagawa’s webpage.
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